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Washington Journal

Kent Watkins discusses the Omnibus Housing Act of 1965.

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Hud 10, Johnson 9, Washington 6, Lyndon Johnson 4, Us 3, America 2, Frank Keating 2, New York 2, Massachusetts 2, Kent Watkins 2, Freddie Mac 2, Fannie Mae 2, Michigan 1, Gorman 1, Iologist 1, Changeme 1, Annapolis 1, Anneristopher Hitchens 1, Gretchen Morgan 1, Detroit 1,
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  CSPAN    Washington Journal    Kent Watkins discusses the  
   Omnibus Housing Act of 1965.  

    August 20, 2014
    9:15 - 10:01am EDT  

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influential people over the past by five years. -- past 25 years. >> i decided to take it because whether it is an illusion or not -- i don't think it is -- it helped my concentration, it stop me being bored, stopped other people being boring to some extent. it would keep me awake and allow me to go on longer and have longer compositions and enhance the moment. if i was asked would i do it again, the answer is probably yes. i would've quit earlier, possibly, hoping to goad away from the whole thing -- get away from the holding. not very nice for my children to hear. it sounds irresponsible, if i say i would do that all again to you. it would be hit or critical of me to say -- hypocritical of me to say no, i would not have done it if i don't, because i didn't know. >> the soviet union contained the seeds of its own destruction.
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many of the problems we saw at the end began at the very beginning. i spoke about the attempt to control all institutions and all parts of the economy and political life and social life. one of the problems is that when you do that, when you try to control everything, you create opposition and potential dissidents everywhere. if you tell all artists they have to paint the same way and to artist says no, i want paint another way, you have just made him into a political visited. -- political dissident. >> if you want to subsidize housing in this country and the populace agrees that it is something we should subsidize, put it on the balance sheet and make it clear and make it evident and make everybody aware of how much it costs. but when you deliver it through these third-party enterprises, fannie mae and freddie mac, when you deliver the subsidy through a public company with private shareholders and executives who can extract a lot of that subsidy for themselves, that is
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not a very good way of subsidizing homeownership. anneristopher hitchens, applebaum, and gretchen morgan said are three of the -- gretchen morgenson are three of the stories in "sundays at eight." "washington journal" continues. host: we continue with our discussion of lyndon johnson's vision for a great society. all this week on "washington journal" we are talking about several of them. we talked about the voting rights act, education, just talked about immigration as well. right now we want to focus on housing, president johnson signing into law in 1965 and omnibus housing act that was part of a series of omnibus bills on housing. joining us for this discussion is can't watkins, the chair of the national economy of housing and sustainable development.
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let's go back before '65. when did the federal government start getting involved in housing for americans, and why? greta, actually, it was way back in the 1700s, although it was more land use and land development and the sale of federal land -- surplus land we might call it today, but it wasn't then. it was new land. get intoeally didn't untilusing business settlers could build on it and that led to cities in a different kind of housing in the 1800s and the 1900s. this idea thatt the federal government needs to provide affordable homes, whether to renters or owners?
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when did the discussion of that begin and why? guest: different words were used to describe a certain median income, and people who could afford to live in the housing. mortgages didn't take place until quite late in the life cycle of housing. probably began to get up into mid-1900s,900s and and when the depression came, the housing crisis began in a much more larger scale. that is where the federal government was generally called into by the housing industry. host: what led to johnson signing this ominous activ of
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'65? what comes before it? guest: i think there was a backdrop to that. certainly fha was the leading guarantor of single-family housing, with issues in the '30s '40s from roosevelt on dealing with how you provide some guarantees and reduce risk. that was always the issue of how you reduce risk. when you came up into the kennedy administration, a number of task forces were developed that were continued under johnson, and out of that came this dichotomy of who would deal with housing only or do we deal with urban development? housing in a number of agencies has been informed over the years dealing with both. all independent, like a lot of
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the mergers we saw in other areas you have been covering. this took place in 1961. that was relevant for a number of other agencies. and that morphed into a cabinet department, because in washington, of course, bureaucracies like to grow, and cabinet officers are more independent agencies. with it he creates the housing and urban development department. guest: that is correct. host: the hud secretary and position that we know of today. why? and what is hud's responsibility? guest: again, it is this dichotomy between the housing industry and financing that, whether it is through secondary markets like fannie mae and freddie mac, which reformed over the years, and this whole idea
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of we are more than just housing, we need to have a mechanism by which we deal with students as they grow and as the rural america became the urban america. all that was soda happening by -- all that was sort of happening certainly by the '60s, after world war ii and on, dealing with suburbia, dealing with the inner cities, dealing with how you provide shelter within that environment. host: president johnson authorizes nearly $8 billion for housing and rental assistance, rent subsidies for low income people and new housing projects, grants to help low-income homeowners relocate properties, aid small businesses by rehabilitating urban property as well. is it a success? what happens? guest: it was one of many bills that -- generally, housing bills
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years.sed very few sustainability, if you will, and there is pressure from interest groups to modify and tweak the financial system that mitigates this risk in providing what we call for double housing -- what we call affordable housing now. but all housing in reaching the middle class come of the whole concept of homeownership versus rental housing continues today to be a third rail issue in some cases. host: take a look at the numbers from the center on budget and policy priorities. 35%, or 41 million households them are renters. 4.9 million of low income households receive federal rental assistance. 56% of the cells holds are elderly or disabled. 36% are families with children.
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14% are located outside of metropolitan areas. 4.9 million are low income households that receive federal rental assistance. is there enough to support the need? is there enough housin assistance to support the need in this country? guest: depends on who you ask, of course, and that continues to be the raging conversation or debate within both the housing industry and the whole urban area itself. congress obviously make many of those decisions, and depending on the politics of that particular fungus and that particular administration, -- that particular congress and that particular administration, this waxes and wanes. the answer in short, in my opinion, is that there is always a need to fill gaps and deal
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with changing demographics in terms of the use, in terms of the elderly. all of these things change. and in terms of who can afford homeownership versus the whole concept of rental. host: what is the current situation like today? guest: the current situation is of a number of pressing factors such as student loans have had a big impact on the new generation deciding whether they can afford more structure. we find that making an impact on what kinds of housing today by or don't buy. in addition, you have got greater increase in elderly could you have a different debate about do we have elderly .n place or do we relocate
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how do we move all of these infamous changes in population around -- infamous changes of population around? rental is essentially at the moment inching upward. thatomeownership goals have been bipartisan, more or less, have never reached much about 65%, and are going down now. host:, which money is spent on housing assistance in this country -- how much money is spent on housing assistance in this country? guest: depends on how you define housing assistance, again. some people would say that includes all the mortgage tax deductions, including second homes. that has been a big boon to realtors, appraisers, mortgage bankers, and many others, in big it ishere -- how
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and how it flows. the other aspect is what many are calling workforce housing, which is how you do with persons , and thent level affordable housing perhaps being relegated to what we used to call low income housing. host: we will get to calls now. charles is in naperville, illinois, republican caller. we are talking about housing assistance in this country, going back to president johnson's vision for a so-called great society. he passed legislation to help out with low income and middle income americans. what are your thoughts, what are your questions, charles? caller: since lbj's motivation and inspiration for the great society was to end poverty in the united states, 50 years later, after billions of dollars spent, are there more people in poverty today or less? host: kent watkins, maybe you
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can answer that in the scope of housing and housing situation. guest: right, because i am not a poverty economist. but certainly, again, it depends on which groups are taking the .ata and interpreting it ase groups would say, such the low income housing coalition, that there is a greater need. other groups would say that we are taking care of this and we are on the right track. host: how many different federal programs are there for housing assistance? how many different agencies are doing it? it is not just hud. guest: good point. i think this is one of the things that happened, beginning to showcase the other departments that are involved. traditionally you thought of hud
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and maybe the department of agriculture is providing both rural and urban housing, sort of a straight cut in the perception of people out there, including ourselves. but when the recession hit, we began to be much more aware of what the u.s. department of was going to do and what they could do, both through the irs in terms of tax credits as well as parts of the have thet and you federal reserve taking a much more active role, even though they have been there from the very beginning. so at least of those two entities have taken a front seat. hud over the years has changed since the johnson days. ud part of more of a hud, urban development, in that mass transit, water and sewer facilities
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those agencies play a role. agencies name 10 other . that role has been taken away from hud. department of justice would be another agency that gets involved in other aspects. ways -- player in some a dead player in some ways, but it continues to play a very important role. host: joe in indiana. caller: there is so much to say and so little time to say it. i don't get a chance to watch all of c-span's programming, but every thing i have seen about , your guestsociety
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have largely been in support of johnson. risk was always the biggest thing and housing and the democrats are constantly trying to promote the illusion that they can get rid of risk. they have never been able to get rid of risk. i would like to know if there has been any success at all in getting rid of any kind of risk that he knows about and whether the big risk is getting somebody like lyndon johnson in charge of things and then he creates something like the unified budget which passes on the risk two 2007 1 all caps is and we 2007 when it all collapses and all the people with lyndon johnson are long dead and do not have to there any accountability. tot: can we trace 2007 back
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lbj? guest: every congress tends to ,ick the can down the road whether with housing, immigration, or many other issues. i think this was just another issue or another phase in public policy makers and politicians attempting badly, maybe not, to listen to what the needs of the population was and to experiment with the demonstration cities act. the 1968 housing act, which attempted to balance new community development in inner cities, homeownership, and rental. the argument will never be over.
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the goal line keeps changing. the population keeps changing. , chairman of the budget committee, potentially the chairman of the ways and means committee, is out with a new book. forward.": the way he has been on a tour talking about poverty. tanks at one of the think in washington putting out his proposal and his ideas. i want to have our viewers take a listen to what he is talking about involving housing. [video clip] the public and private sector work together, we can offer a more were civilized, customized offering. ,hen the recognizes needs problem, and potential. in opportunity grant.
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it would consolidate left and federal programs into one stream of funding to participating states. the idea would be providing different ways of aid. more flexibility in exchange for more accountability. my thinking is get rid of the bureaucratic formulas and put the emphasis on results. ryan in a was paul speech recently. the government executive says the 11 programs he is talking about, the 11 federal low-income programs, include section eight housing choice program, which provide choices for very low income families, the elderly.
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the public housing capital operating fund, as well. consolidate these programs and have it done on a local level, based on people's needs. what do you make of this? guest: i think he will have to put it in the context of yearsion over a number of since the great society and before. all sorts of ideas are put on the table and some make it historythe legislative and it has come from both parties, which i think is wonderful. needs -- there were 300 programs that were grant programs. this may be the time again. host: we are talking with kent
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johnson'sout lyndon vision for a great society, part of that was housing. he signed into law in 1965, the omnibus housing act. you have a pen. where is it from? guest: i do. this is not the pen that signed hud into law. onwas one of the pens used august 1, 1958, used by the president. they have a bunch of pens they give out afterward. that was a major piece of legislation that had housing goals of 10 million over a ten-year period of affordable housing. that was not continued, but there are many attempts to keep this conversation going.
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it is nonpartisan and we have a number of people every month, once a month we have people come fromo are academy fellows whatever direction to provide these kind of ideas. we had a conversation with congressman ryan and it was very spirited and it was very good. each one that we have adds to that breadth of knowledge that we will see replicated up on the hill. talking about the civil rights movement and the impact of the war on poverty. is in westborough,
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massachusetts. independent. caller: thank you for c-span. good morning. i'm stuck in massachusetts, we -achusetts. the family has to stick together as a clan. people are learning how to make cash because all the jobs, engineering is where i work, they are gone. exist in a state with no state taxes. i don't pay taxes anymore. host: is that the reason why housing is not affordable? you can't afford a house. you have to stick together. you can't put the kid out of 18. guest: i'm not quite sure how to
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answer that. you are correct in describing some of the emerging factors that are happening at this place in time. hopefully congress and whichever administration comes in will continue to try to deal with this and not kick the can too far down the road. host: washington, d.c., republican caller. discussions topic of answered a question i had in about the distribution of funding to communities. 14% is provided to communities outside of the metropolitan area. i'm the biological mother of four kids, of which i now share custody after a divorce. i'm also an advocate. my unique household is the
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client of a had section eight program. -- hud section eight program. it allows the clients to rent an affordable apartment or home in any zoning area of the community in any state. it also allows unique households to transition as they are trying , if they are aspiring to become more productive citizens, such as transitioning to a different socioeconomic status. would you agree? guest: yes and again i think this was a bipartisan attempt over the years with lyndon johnson, as you pointed out act., as part of the 1965 that was one attempt to deal and gets cap -- gap
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away from public housing production and increase production through the private sector and make up the difference in rent and income through a subsidy. networked into a republican program by and large or a republican idea called section eight that was also based on a housing administration. , which wese factors are still working with, may morph into a new program. i think one of the issues that is brought up by those who look at the ryan program is that the aar that when you consolidate number of programs, whether it is section eight or something else, that the resulting dollar and theecomes less single program, if you want to call it that.
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i think the second thing that is is what is the mechanism for implementing this? if it is through the states, that becomes a political issue for mayors and the federal proponents. it is a very useful part of the conversation in the next couple of years. host: randy in iowa. democratic caller. caller: i have been listening to the conversation and i find it interesting, the words morph and evolved.ow hud has the one thing that struck me was the conversation somebody earlier was talking about about laying the blame for the 2007-2008 debacle back on the
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1965 and lyndon baines johnson. that the seems republican administration under george bush, that 2007-2008 a banking andinly real estate deregulation problem , that the regulations allowed this market to crash. would you comment on that? guest: thank you. i grew up in iowa. thanks for calling in. [laughter] view, which is i think both parties have to jb contributed-- greatly in terms of housing tools and trying to meet the needs of various segments of our
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population within a changing urban context. evolve, ie the word also think the corollary to that is sometimes. there is nothing new under the sun. you sort of smile when you look and see the same models being touted as something new. it does not make any difference. if the facts fit or if the solution fits the problem, then it doesn't matter what we name it. i tend to think that every hud andetary and their staff the industry that has grown earnest ande very trying to solve these problems together. we all tend to get along. you could call the conspiracy. i don't. we tend to try to reach across
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say,es, across views, and if this is not working, let's try something else. watkins has years of experience with housing and community related planning and economic development. the national academy of sciences and sustainable development, what is that? guest: it is sort of an honorary society. it is a rotary club in some ways. it is also an offshoot -- not an offshoot, but a like a model of the national's academy, though it is not chartered by congress. it started during the johnson era. those among us decided that we had a group of people that would utter achievements across the board
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and we would nominate in a very informal way like henry cisneros or a number of people, frank keating at the american bankers association, many who have gone through hud and who are still fighting the good battle of how do you provide housing within a changing urban development context. in annapolis, maryland. republican. caller: how are you? host: you are on the air. caller: mr. watkins. i was with hud for 33 years. i came in under nixon. you can thank hud for the problems we're having today in
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all of our cities, whether it is ferguson, chicago, jacksonville, florida, detroit. 1968,fter the riots in when hud was formed, they brought in a small group of so that we should have housing for poor blacks. these family projects, hundreds of them, thousands of them, controlled by a small group of people. americans are living in these hellhole projects today, where there is no education, there are no jobs, there is no opportunity. 25% of the blacks are doing well. get thatre'd you number? 70%? caller: just a few kind of look at the situation.
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i would say 70%, 75%. again, i think it depends from where you sit. problem or it the helps in whatever way they can come under nixon, reagan, bush, clinton, or the rest of the administration's. whether you call it hud or something else, there is always going to be a bureaucratic organization for better or for worse that is out there trying to do the best they can. host: when did this idea of housing projects, when did they surface and what is happening to them today? i think that again when we go back and look at that era,
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the same in st. louis with the famous projects there, that architects from all over the is very goodhis this, and aia extolled when you look at the dedications and the signing ceremony. and nowou look back quarterbacking you realize that they were not good. evolve.hings in terms of demographic, transportation, highway transportation legislation -- in terms of relocation and other problems in which hud and other agencies had to pick up on. the whole issue as we know of desegregation and of race, which continues today.
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how you deal with this. secretary cisneros came along and this whole line of secretaries and came up with the program that involved a number of republican ideas. these high-rise dense projects were changed to mixed income and lower rise. resultsmany of those have been reasonably good. there is never enough money to change the environment of a neighborhood around it. who knows whether these structures will stand the test of time? host: gary on twitter. private-public partnership. ray in covington, georgia. republican. caller: good morning. -- they build houses
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so cheap and they charge so much money to sell the houses. the way they sell the houses is very crazy. they put $50,000 in a house. they are so poor, you pay $250,000 for a house. host: are you talking about construction? caller: yes, the houses. that is when the housing market today [indiscernible] it is very difficult. host: all right. kent watkins. your thoughts? guest: i'm not the hud secretary. point, if ityour is as factual as you make it to be, certainly needs to be one of those many things that all of us sit around the table and have
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1000 barriers to affordable housing and accessible affordable housing and your input is very valuable and i hope you will continue to express that. host: kirk in pennsylvania. democratic caller. caller: hi. my experience with affordable housing is that it creates poverty. to start a family or whatever, you have to be viable, you have to have the skill sets where you can earn enough money to sit or yourself -- support yourself. affordable housing eliminates that requirement. for a similar working-class person to put forward income that relates to what public housing people get, they would need about $1 million in the bank. that has been one of the criticisms over the years
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about public housing. i think there are many, many good things when it was first formed in the 1930's that took and of that disparity inequality and to some extent dealt with the functionality of the second world war workers. changeme, those ideas and hopefully policymakers change with it and politicians change with it. , that ishe time lag where we have a gap in most of the issues you are still talking about. a headline from yesterday's "usa today." the cost of raising a child born in 2013. usda sinceissued by 1960 found that housing was the single biggest expense.
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raisingg about 30% of -- the cost of raising a child. education was 18%. republican caller, brenda. theer: i would like to ask gentleman how the community reinvestment act under jimmy carter contributed to the mortgages andr the bank. i'm sorry. host: i think we got it. one of our conversationalists or facilitators that the last academy luncheon was a gentleman in was the deputy secretary the republican administration and he went on to become head of the new york regional federal homeland bank system.
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many of those are very closely tied to the community bank and to the community reinvestment act, which bring in much larger banks, as well. frank keating, another cabinet fellow from new york from the american bankers association, both of these could make a very --d argument and have particularly the smaller community banks, during the 2008 there and hung in many of their mortgages were not foreclosed as a result. we can obviously discuss this for many, many hours. , i think the new products that came out of wall
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street which were very innovative were such instruments that they were very hard to and it took a recession to catch up with that. host: lansing, michigan. independent caller. caller: i watch everyday. i tuned in late. i'm not sure if you have already discussed this. i'm 70. i have lived in usda rural housing. $485.rent was the company that owned 1000 apartments in the state gets a subsidy from the federal for $735 for a one-bedroom. they get the difference. we still don't understand why these corporations in housing are making millions and millions of dollars from the federal government, which is a federal government expense, to the
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people. in a $525 i live apartment that is small and it is not subsidized. it is nice. i just think it is for the big corporations to get rich, myself. thank you for everything. i do see a need for more housing projects to be built for seniors. host: do you see that need coming, more housing bill for seniors? affordable housing? guest: absolutely. what kinds of forms there should be. , staying in place has addition to the conversation. innovativet means and i think it does innovative
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actions on the part of local and state authorities to create more flexible zoning and more flexible occupancy is what we are hoping to see out here in terms of creativity. host: kent watkins. we appreciate your time and the conversation this morning. guest: thank you so much. 'sst: that does it for today "washington journal." we will be back tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern time with more of your comments and questions. thanks and enjoy the rest of your wednesday. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> tonight at 8:00 p.m. on
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c-span, conversations from the new york ideas festival. gorman,iologist, james and andrew kaplan taking part. on thed of hbo comments significance of "game of thrones." >> "game of thrones" has been a cultural explosion. what has that meant in terms of your brand? it is nice to have 17 million, right? 18 million. [laughter] >> excuse me. never get your numbers wrong. numberecessary to have a -- a hit like that? >> no. a global phenomenon, a huge backend home-video attached to the other side of the coin
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-- it is the most pirated show on television -- but i always say in response to that but that is the bad news story, but the good news is 18 million people in the united states are watching illegally. that is all believing in david and dan, listening to their vision, seeing their passion. david and dan really they love the product and they know it in their bones. they breathe it. , whose whole life is built around the books, to have entrusted them with the legacy of this. speaks volumes. >> a portion of this year's new

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